Monday, August 22, 2016

How to create a color coding system that works

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College can be insanely stressful; from classes themselves, to extracurriculars, a social life, working out and work back to school can easily feel overwhelming. Today I'm helping you create a comprehensive color-code system to help you organize every aspect of your life. 

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We've got to handle so many things as college students at any given point during the semester. I try to make a point each semester getting involved on campus and spending time with friends, but when the right-here-right-now tasks get in the way, it's easy to forget about what matters most. 

To help me get my head organized I've created a color coding system that covers every aspect of my life. For some perspective about what I'm able to handle with my system let me tell you what all I've got on my place. I work about 30 hours a week at a marketing gig, help teach a freshman experience class, blog twice weekly, take a full time course load of 4 studio art classes and participate in a few clubs on-campus. Obviously I still do things for my personal life like spending time with family and working out too.

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I'm going to be using these colored Pilot G2 pens from Target. I've been using these pens since high school and they're still my number one favorite for taking notes and writing in my planner. There's also a coupon that you can print off here for $.75 off any four pack or more.

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The Pilot G2 Pens are America's #1 Selling gel ink brand, and it's definitely easy to see why. They come in four different point sizes from Ultra Fine point to Bold and my personal favorite, the 0.7 mm. They also come in 15 vibrant colors, metallic and more. 
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These are the only pens I use for taking notes in college and writing in my planner, so you best believe I don't lend them out in class. A few semesters ago I let a classmate borrow one during our final and waited around outside the classroom to get it back from her. These pens have been proven to write longer than other gel brands and work just as hard as I do. Let's get into creating your system.


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1. Brainstorm your categories

Take a minute to think about all the different responsibilities and things you deal with on a weekly basis. Feels a little overwhelming right? Write out a list of potential categories, and work them down to four to six. You don't want your categories to be too specific or it'll start getting too confusing and too hard to keep up with. I like using really broad groups like "Personal Life" for anything I do with my family or anything about my health, and "Extracurriculars" for the various clubs I'm in. My other categories include "School, Blogging, Social, and Work/Career."

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2. Assign colors and make a key

I chose my six favorite colors from the Pilot G2 Pens and assigned each to a category. Work is going to my busiest and most important category, so I made sure that was an eye catching red and my school colors are orange and blue, so my anything to do with my classes is going to be Maverick orange.

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When starting a new system it's important to make yourself a key until you've got your system memorized. I like to do this on a 3x5" note card that I've cut in half. I always cut my note cards in half, especially when I'm making and studying flashcards, it just makes them a little more manageable.

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I tape or glue my key into my planner just in case I ever need to reference it as the semester rolls on. Your needs will definitely change as the years go on, for example, purple use to be my internship, and I rolled social life into my personal life. Since my internship has ended I've rearranged things more. It might take some experimentation, but after a few months you'll be able to figure out what is and isn't working.

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3. Using your system

I like to implement my system in all of my planning tools. I already mentioned how I use it in my planner, and you can see how I use it on my calendar above–you can download these calendars here. But I also like to use it on my Google Calendar.

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Remember that being organized is a personal thing, and what works for one person may not work for another. The point is to experiment and figure out what works for you.



What other types of color coding systems have you used in the past? What was successful and what wasn't? Comment below!


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